Jennifer Wilczynski tried to keep calm while staring at the “monster” in the room. 

“It was definitely intimidating, but I tried to block it out of my mind, like it wasn’t even there,” she said.

The Suffolk graduate student was referring to the camera that followed her as she delivered a report on ABC Live.

ABC chose Wilczynski to serve as a student reporter during a two-week Washington, DC, academic seminar focused on the presidential inauguration. She is part of a 21-student Suffolk contingent and among more than 340 students from dozens of colleges and universities who are attending the Washington Center session.

Another way of looking at politics

Soon after submitting a short video application for the reporting gig, Wilczynski found herself in the middle of an ABC conference call with three other students chosen from across the country.

“I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to see the media side of politics,” she said. “As students and government majors, we typically only look at policy and we don’t question people who are influencing government.”

ABC has a livestream online segment devoted to the presidential inauguration, and Wilczynski has interviewed Barbara Slavin, acting director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor.com, a website devoted to news from and about the Middle East.

She also has interviewed students representing many states about topics ranging from professional ethics to democracy and the United States political system. Each of her four-to-six-minute segments in front of the camera has been an eye-opener.

“It has made me realize that journalism is hard but that you are always learning about current world news,” she said. “You have to be on top of things and in the moment all the time.”

Christina Kulich-Vamvakas of the Government Department knew that Wilczynski would be a natural for the ABC Live position.

“Jennifer’s video application was fabulous,” said Kulich-Vamvakas, who serves as Suffolk’s liaison with The Washington Center. “She had poise, composure, eagerness – she seemed perfect for the role.”

Accelerated master’s degree

Wilczynski is enrolled in Suffolk’s accelerated bachelor/master’s degree program. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science a year ago and is now working towards her master’s in political science, with a concentration in international relations.

She said her television reporting stint is helpful as she works toward her goal of working in conflict resolution.

“The ABC Live experience has given me exposure to a new way of asking questions and a different thought process,” she said. “This news skill is helpful in a variety of fields, especially one like conflict resolution, where you have to think outside the box.”